#FridayFreebie : Max – Alex Miller

#FridayFreebie : Max – Alex Miller

Max

Alex Miller

Allen & UNwin

ISBN: 9781760878160

RRP $29.99

Description:

An astonishing, moving tribute to Alex’s friend, Max Blatt, that is at once a meditation on memory itself, on friendship and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.

‘Max tells of Alex Miller’s search — in turns fearful and elated — for the elusive past of Max Blatt, a man he loves, who loved him and who taught him that he must write with love. Miller discovers that he is also searching for a defining part of himself, formed by his relation to Max Blatt, but whose significance will remain obscure until he finds Max, complete, in his history. With Max, Miller the novelist has written a wonderful work of non-fiction, as fine as the best of his novels. Always a truth-seeker, he has rendered himself vulnerable, unprotected by the liberties permitted to fiction. Max is perhaps his most moving book, a poignant expression of piety, true to his mentor’s injunction to write with love.’ Raimond Gaita, award-winning author of Romulus, My Father

I began to see that whatever I might write about Max, discover about him, piece together with those old shards of memory, it would be his influence on the friendships of the living that would frame his story in the present.

According to your 1939 Gestapo file, you adopted the cover names Landau and Maxim. The name your mother and father gave you was Moses. We knew you as Max. You had worked in secret. From an early age you concealed yourself – like the grey box beetle in the final country of your exile, maturing on its journey out of sight beneath the bark of the tree.

You risked death every day. And when at last the struggle became hopeless, you escaped the hell and found a haven in China first, and then Australia, where you became one of those refugees who, in their final place of exile, chose not death but silence and obscurity.

Alex Miller followed the faint trail of Max Blatt’s early life for five years. Max’s story unfolded, slowly at first, from the Melbourne Holocaust Centre’s records then to Berlin’s Federal Archives. From Berlin, Miller travelled to Max’s old home town of Wroclaw in Poland. And finally in Israel with Max’s niece, Liat Shoham, and her brother Yossi Blatt, at Liat’s home in the moshav Shadmot Dvora in the Lower Galilee, the circle of friendship was closed and the mystery of Max’s legendary silence was unmasked.

Max is an astonishing and moving tribute to friendship, a meditation on memory itself, and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.

 ** Today I have 3 copies of this moving tribute to friendship. If you would like a chance to read this book by the remarkable Alex Miller  simple comment with a title of one of Alex Miler’s previous book.  Australians residents only. I will randomly select winners on 10/10/020   https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/other-books/Max-Alex-Miller-9781760878160  

 

Review: Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach

Jennifer Egan

Hachette Australia

Little Brown Book Group

ISBN: 9781472150882

 

Description:

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

 

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

 

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.

 

 

My View:

This is the way I like to learn history – wrapped inside an artfully written work of fiction. Gangsters, bootlegging, corruption, bribery, war, women’s rights in America…so much to learn about in this what could be called a historical/ coming of age piece of fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

Henry VIII’s Whiskey Slash – Shakespeare, Not Stirred – Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim

Cover Shakespeare Not Stirred

Shakespeare, Not Stirred

Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas

Caroline Bicks & Michelle Ephraim

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925106909

rrp$27.99

 

Henry VIII’s Whiskey Slash

The best leaders aren’t afraid to make unpopular decisions. Like King Henry VIII, if you’re a Real Man you have to be ready to ditch a pope, behead a wife who can’t give you a male heir, or divorce one who’s just kind of ugly. In Henry VIII, or All Is True, Shakespeare and his cowriter John Fletcher dramatized the king’s smooth Man-euvering from Wife #1 to Wife #2. Breaking up is hard to do, but only if you’re a pussy. This whiskey cocktail celebrates the alpha male’s right to slash any inconvenient ties that bind. Like a sacrament. Or a neck.

10 fresh mint leaves

½ cup lemon pieces

½ ounce simple syrup

2½ ounces rye whiskey

Maraschino cherries

Slash the mint leaves into little pieces. In a shaker, muddle the lemon pieces with the mint leaves and the simple syrup until they cry out for mercy. Add ice and the whiskey. Shake hard and strain into an old–fashioned glass over ice. Stick 3 (or more, if you’re feeling the urge) maraschino cherry “heads” on an olive pick, for garnish.

 

 

Mini-Bard: Henry VIII broke the Man-o-Meter when he split from the pope and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—all so that he could marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. Henry and his team started weakening Rome’s power in England by getting a series of Acts passed in 1532 (when it was looking like Henry was never going to get the divorce or the son he wanted). They completed the break with Rome two years later when Henry declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England. In the meantime, he’d already married the pregnant Anne and gotten the Archbishop of Canterbury to nullify his marriage to Catherine. The play Henry VIII casts Anne as “the goodliest woman / That ever lay by man,” and ends with the christening of her and Henry’s baby daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I. The playwrights didn’t include any of that messy later stuff about Anne getting beheaded when she, like Catherine, failed to produce a male heir. Or anything about Henry’s other (*cough*) four wives. The original Globe Theatre burned to the ground during a 1613 performance of Henry VIII when a cannon shot, meant to herald the king’s greatness in act 1, blew up in his face. Can you say “karma”?

 

 

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Post Script: Spirits of The Ghan – Judy Nunn

Cover Spirits of the Ghan

Spirits of the Ghan

Judy Nunn

RHA

William Heinemann

ISBN: 9780857986733

 

Description:

Master storyteller Judy Nunn has now sold over 1 million books worldwide. In her spellbinding new bestseller she takes us on a breathtaking journey deep into the red heart of Australia.

 

It is 2001 and as the world charges into the new Millennium, a century-old dream is about to be realised in the Red Centre of Australia: the completion of the mighty Ghan railway, a long-lived vision to create the ‘backbone of the continent’, a line that will finally link Adelaide with the Top End.

 

But construction of the final leg between Alice Springs and Darwin will not be without its complications, for much of the desert it will cross is Aboriginal land.

 

Hired as a negotiator, Jessica Manning must walk a delicate line to reassure the Elders their sacred sites will be protected. Will her innate understanding of the spiritual landscape, rooted in her own Arunta heritage, win their trust? It’s not easy to keep the peace when Matthew Witherton and his survey team are quite literally blasting a rail corridor through the timeless land of the Never-Never.

 

When the paths of Jessica and Matthew finally cross, their respective cultures collide to reveal a mystery that demands attention. As they struggle against time to solve the puzzle, an ancient wrong is awakened and calls hauntingly across the vastness of the outback . . .

 

 

My View:

Australia has some great female authors and Judy Nunn is at the top of her field. Judy Nunn has a huge following and it is not difficult to understand why; her style of combining histories and the personal story are very affective. The narratives here share fictionalised historical based events of Australia’s colonial history and a fictionalised personal story of a child of The Stolen Generation (Rose’s story). The echoes of these stories impact and effect the contemporary narrative and the lives of the characters building the renowned remote railway track known as The Ghan Railway.

 

I enjoyed this style of writing, the histories, the settings, the characters. And even more I loved the spiritual element that plays a significant part in this narrative. I think this novel will play an important part in reintroducing the topic of the Stolen Generation to many readers. Judy Nunn introduces this emotional subject in her novel by the way of a very personal history; Rose’s experiences demonstrates the consequences of this policy. You cannot help but empathise with the plight of the individual and the generation affected. Kudos to Judy Nunn for tackling such a difficult issue and highlighting the damage that this policy continues to affect.

 

 

A combination of history, the personal, the outback and the mystical combine to make this an enjoyable and thought provoking read.